Exhibition Japonisme/Ponti, and Les Troyens at Opera Bastille

Yesterday, Saturday, Chun went to this exhibition Japonisme/Gio Ponti at the Musée des Arts Decoratifs with a friend. Some of his friends told him about this exhibition about Gio Ponti, a renowned Italian architect, and there he was.

In the first part of this exhibition, Japonisme, were displayed different japanese art pieces. Chun always liked the delicacy of the Japnese art. He didn’t spend the time to study carefully each art piece, he simply walked through the exhibition halls and picked some of his favorites at a first quick glance.

The Ponti part was impressive. Some of the scupltures and objects designed by the Italian architect were always displayed. The artist had different inteesting (and somehow, crazy) ideas and put them into life.

Then in the evening, Chun went to the Générale of the famous French opera Les Troyens, by Hector Berlioz. It is a very long opera, originially composed of 5 acts, and today’s production put it into only 3 parts with 2 intermissions. But it still lasts for 5 hours, from 6pm to 11pm.
Conducted by our Musical Director Philippe Jordan, the orchestra was perfect, the singers too. Chun was however found Dmitri Tcherniakov‘s staging not so convincing. While the first part of the performance was very impressive, with enormous sets moving around the stage and in the end opening up showing the gigantic space of the stage of the Opera Bastille, and also people walking while on fire (oh yes!), the second and third parts happened to be in a psychiatric rehabilitation centre which is not very appealing and not so coherent with the synopsis….

But of course this grand opera is particularly important for the dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet. The music of our Défilé is from this opera…… A melody that every dancer of the company would know note by note, reminding us of our glorious but also bitter periods.

Point of views…..

Since Chun came back to Paris after a relatively short stay in Hong Kong (8 days), it has been kind of a marathon for him.
While in Hong Kong, Chun naturally preferred spending time with his family then working on his business course. Once back in Paris, the homework, the intense rehearsals for a creation of Pontus Lidberg, a young talented Swedish choreographer, the unpacking and the packing……… he knows that he won’t have a break until this coming weekend!

Chun is writing this during his break between two rehearsals. He came out from a rehearsal during which the atmosphere was quite bad. The choreographer tends to work more with a certain group of dancers, and somehow there’s another group that’s waiting at the side all the time and Chun is part of this second group.

You could say that, sitting there waiting for 6 hours everyday is very boring. But observing how different people react to this situation is interesting:

  • To Chun, it’s not quite a big deal. He is often an understudy in the company and understudies are used to waiting and learning the steps on the sides, out of the attention of the ballet masters or the choreographer.
  • To the soloists who are not dancing, it is very frustrating and annoying. Many of the soloists expressed their anger. They are usually under the spotlight, learning new roles and new steps, having new challenges day after day. This kind of rehearsals is just a scandal. The choreographer and his assistants are to be blamed, for they are not well organised.
  • To the dancers who are part of the group which is dancing in this creation, they understand that a creating process is long and difficult. The choreographer has already a lot of restrictions from the company, the choice of the dancers, the studios schedule, and of course the limited time. They fully understand, and believe that if we cooperate, we could in the end create a fantastic piece.

Time to go back to rehearsal…….

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Hong Kong Caprice~

Just after breakfast, sitting at the dinning table just next to Ah Ma (Grandma in Cantonese), Chun looks at his grandma, thoughtful. He asks,
– “Ah ma, do you want me to come back to Hong Kong?”, Ah Ma nods simply,  eyes looking at her empty bowl.
Each time Chun comes back home to see her, Ah Ma gets slower, having more and more health issues. This year, unlike last time, Ah Ma starts to have knee pain and have difficulties walking.

For an instance, Chun imagines moving back to Hong Kong, just to stay with Ah Ma until the end. Capricious, he thinks that it’s worthy. After all, Ah Ma raised him up and has been an incredibly brave woman that he admires.

Ah Ma asks,

– “what’s the date today?
– “it’s Friday, 11th“, Chun replies.
– “and when are you leaving?”, she asks with a slightly shaky voice.
– “er…. on 13th in the evening”

The two of them remain silent, side by side, avoiding each other’s gaze.

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Home sweet home ~ Photos of La Dame aux Camélias……

Chun is on vacation in Hong Kong, enjoying some precious time with his family and friends in his hometown. That us probably explains why he’s less active here…..

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Here are all the photos taken during the last production at Opera Garnier, La Dame aux Camélias:

End of La Dame….

Tonight was the last show of La Dame aux Camélias. This series of 19 performances have actually been quite enjoyable.

Chun also had the honor to wear Manuel Legris‘ (Famous French Etoile dancer) costume for this production!

The rehearsals which started in August 2018 have been very stressful for Chun, as he had to face his weaknesses in partnering. He had been brave to go through it, having “硬著頭皮做” in his mindset to confront each challenge.

He was very nervous and worried that these 19 performances would be even worse than the rehearsals. But eventually things just work out with hard work and perseverance.

Very touched to have finished this period, during which Chun learned very much. Will be up again for airport bus in only a few hours, heading back to Hong Kong.

2019!

2018 had been a very important year for Chun. Full of ups and downs, challenges and emotion, he went though the most revealing and shocking moments imaginable. It made him learn so much, and grow.
It is a year to remember. Now he sees things very differently and has a new attitude towards his life.

To take a step back and look at the year 2018, he could appreciate how wonderful life had been. Happy New Year to you all!

 

Looking back on Chun’s 2018…..

– A very nice two-weeks stay in Hong Kong
– Preparation of Concours de Promotion in March 2018
– Understudying Daphnis and Chloe (Millepied) and Bolero (Bejart)
– Ankle injury, unable to participate in Concours
– Met new friends in Paris, had so much fun visiting around together, and nice talks.
– Came back in Die Grosse Fuge (Keersmaeker)
– Decided to do Varna International Ballet Competition in Summer, speedily started the preparation
– Understudying La Fille Mal Gardée (Ashton)
– Injury at the hip
– Varna Competition with the injury, surprisingly won a prize.
– Nice family trip in Paris
– New Season at Opera, started rehearsing La Dame and Robbin’s Glass Pieces
– Concours de Promotion in November
– Trip to Budapest (for visit)
– La Dame performances……….

 

Jean-Michel Basquiat / Egon Schiele @Fondation Louis Vuitton

I think Chun has never spent so much time in a single exhibition….


He arrived at 9am at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, a beautiful building by the architect Frank Gehry, and at noon, he had lunch appointment, so he had to leave, but he would have stayed even longer!

This Basquiat/ Schiele exhibition was really interesting. The main focus was on the Africo-american artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, an impressive collection of his works was exposed in four levels at the Fondation LV, many of the works were said to be never exposed, owned by private collectors. While the Austrian artist Egon Schiele‘s works only exposed in one level.

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Chun spent more than 3 hours there. Carefully studied each artwork. He could appreciate Shiele’s aesthetic, beautiful and poetic work, while Basquiat’s is full of symbols, messages and stories behind, and often anger.

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Chun’s favorite by Basquiat
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Chun’s favourite by Schiele

To end his visit, he enjoyed a meal at Le Frank, the restaurant at the Fondation LV, before taking a nice “little train” to Porte Maillot to head home.